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11 Day Poland Tour: Bridging East & West Tour
TOURCODE: PL3
Duration: 11 Days Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
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11 Day Poland Tour: Bridging East & West Tour

11 Days
TOURCODE: PL3

Torun, home of Copernicus; Warsaw: Old Town tour; Vibrant Gdansk; Well-preserved Krakow; Wieliczka salt mines tour;

Tour Overview
Tour Overview
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Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

There exists immaculate beauty and timeless history within the borders of Poland.

On this Poland tour, we are embarking on a journey that will expose us to a world that is usually only experienced through travel guides or history books. It is an essential experience for anyone who wants to see the most important locations in the world.

The tour of Auschwitz is an eye-opening lesson that is better learned up-front rather than reading about it in the chapters of any textbook.

Poland offers something to learn and something to appreciate around every corner; this analogy can be taken quite literally when we step foot along the labyrinthine, cobblestone streets of the capital city, Warsaw.

The history of this city alone spans from the 13th to the 20th centuries and we can surely appreciate how the history books remain wide-open for the vibrant future of this spectacular country.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.

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Optional Single Supplement: $690 USD (number of singles limited).



$500 USD DEPOSIT REQUIRED per person
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Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrive in Krakow
Arrival in Krakow.

Krakow is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It was originally the home of the Polish royalty (between 1038 and 1596), before the capital was moved to Warsaw. The cobblestone streets, majestic churches (almost 100!), and old world charm make Krakow an unforgettable destination.

PLEASE NOTE: Our Poland program will operate slightly differently depending on the date selected. Because of closures on certain days of the week, the sightseeing order will vary from Spring to Fall (our overnight points, however, remain the same). This itinerary reflects the order of sightseeing for the immediately upcoming departure; once that trip departs, this itinerary will be updated for the following date.

Overnight in Krakow.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Krakow: City Walking Tour
Krakow is very compact, and the whole central region with its cobblestone streets is full of well-preserved architecture, Gothic churches and splendid museums. On our sightseeing tour (largely on foot at a leisurely pace) we visit Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle, Market Square, and the 16th century Renaissance Cloth Hall. We continue onward to Jagiellonian University and St Mary's Church with the Wit Stwosz altar. This was designed in 1489 by Wit Stwosz of Nuremburg and is the finest sculptural work in Poland.

We then stroll down the hill from the castle complex and enter the Old Town, one of the most famous old districts in Poland and the centre of Poland's political life from 1038 until King Sigismund III Vasa relocated his court to Warsaw in 1596. The entire medieval old town is among the first sites chosen for the UNESCO's World Heritage List. The district features the centrally located Rynek Glowny, or Main Square, the largest medieval town square of any European city. There is a number of historic landmarks in its vicinity, such as St. Mary's Basilica (Kosciol Mariacki), Church of St. Wojciech (St. Adalbert's), Church of St. Barbara, as well as other national treasures.

While in Krakow, we'll also have a walking visit of Kazimierz, once an independent town governed separately from Krakow until the late middle ages. Later, it became known as the Jewish Quarter of the city and was finally transformed into a center for Krakow’s beatnik bars and cafe culture.

Overnight in Krakow.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 3 Oskar Schindler Museum & Wieliczka Salt Mines
This morning we visit the Oskar Schindler's Factory Museum. The story of Oskar Schindler and his employees is one which has been well-known since the book and film by Thomas Keneally and Steven Spielberg (whose film 'Schindler's List' was shot almost entirely in Krakow). Individual histories of Krakow's wartime inhabitants guide visitors through the exhibit which covers the war of 1939, everyday life under occupation, the fate of the Jews and the city's underground resistance using vast archival documents, photos, radio and film recordings, period artifacts and multimedia.

We'll then break for lunch* after which we'll head to the Wieliczka Salt Mines. On our 5km (3 mile) journey below the earth's surface we will see the salt-formed caves and grottoes, a subterranean lake and a chapel with statues carved from salt. The mines' 11 levels of galleries stretch 300km (186 miles), and some 20,000,000 tonnes (22,000,000 tons) of rock salt were extracted over 700 years. According to local legend, the deposits were discovered in the 13th century by a Hungarian princess named Kinga, whose lost ring was found in a block of salt extracted here.

* Because of the fullness of our day, and because past travellers indicated a desire for some independence for dinner while in Krakow (and an earlier night), we include a light lunch instead of dinner today.

Overnight in Krakow.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch



Day 4 Krakow - Oswiecim (Auschwitz) - Czestochowa - Lodz
Our first stop today is the Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and Brzezinka (Birkenau) Nazi concentration camps preserved as memorials to the 1.5 million people of 28 nationalities who perished here, the overwhelming majority of whom were Jewish. Our guided walking tour of the site reveals the compelling history of this region and the very human aspect of this particular historic location.

We continue to Czestochowa, the "spiritual home" of Poland, where pilgrims from every corner of the country come to Jasna Gora (Luminous Mountain) Monastery to revere the image of the Black Madonna, Poland's most important icon. Legend says that the icon was painted by St Luke the Evangelist on a piece of cypress wood from the table used by Mary in Nazareth. The icon was brought from Jerusalem and installed in the monastery around 1384.

We finish our day in Lodz (pronounced: Wooj). A small settlement, that in 1423 was granted civic rights, was thriving at the beginning of the 19th century. Lodz became one of the Europe's biggest and fastest growing textile industry centre. At that time, a new identity of the city - "a promised land" and "a city of many cultures" was created. In Lodz people of different nationalities and religions shared the same dream of a success. Despite the differences they were able to build the city together.

We arrive in time for dinner.

Overnight in Lodz.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 Lodz - Warsaw: City Tour
This morning we travel to Warsaw, arriving in time to embark upon a full city tour.

After WWII, a reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today's meticulous restoration of Warsaw's Old Town with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century. Warsaw has shrugged off its dour Eastern Bloc image, and is finally showing its true colours. The vibrant heart of the largest country in "New Europe", Warsaw is now poised to make is presence felt as a business and cultural hub.

We begin our sightseeing with a drive along the Royal Route and a brief orientation drive around the city before beginning our walking tour of the Old Town, a UNESCO protected site. We visit Castle Square, the Uprising Monument, and then drive over to the Praga area for a view of the river. From there go to the Jewish Ghetto area and to Umschlag Platz where we visit the Museum of History of Polish Jews. The museum features a multimedia narrative
exhibition about the vibrant Jewish community that flourished in Poland for a thousand years.

Overnight in Warsaw.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 6 Warsaw Sightseeing - To Torun
Before leaving Warsaw, we'll visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum, dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 (we visit today instead of yesterday as the museum is closed for group visits on Sundays). The museum sponsors research into the history of the Uprising, and the history and possessions of the Polish Underground State. It collects and maintains hundreds of artefacts, ranging from weapons used by the insurgents to love letters, in order to present a full picture of the people involved. The museum's stated goals include the creation of an archive of historical information on the Uprising and the recording of the stories and memories of the still living Uprising participants.

We then continue our journey to the picturesque medieval town of Torun, a beautiful medieval city in northwestern Poland, situated on the Vistula River. Torun's architecture managed to escape bombing, and as such represents one of the only examples of true Gothic architecture in Poland. At warm times of year Torun's old town is full of street cafes and restaurants where you can eat and drink outdoors and enjoy the medieval atmosphere.

Overnight in Torun.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Torun: Nicolaus Copernicus Museum - Gdansk
This morning we enjoy the sights of Torun. Its Old Town has been included in UNESCO's list for its impressive 13th century Town Hall, superb churches and historic streets preserving Torun's past glory. We will visit the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum, Copernicus House, which collects materials about the life and work of Copernicus: a library, old prints and books from the time of Copernicus, various editions of his work, "Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres," and models of the astronomical instruments he used.

We continue to Gdansk, an absolutely charming place with its tall, narrow buildings, peaked roofs and decorative facades that combine perfectly with the cobblestone streets. The famous Gdansk Shipyards are visible from most parts of the city. During our time in Gdansk we'll visit the marvellous Old Town and its main street -- Dlugi Targ (Long Market).

Overnight in Gdansk.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 8 Gdansk Area Tour
Its position on the Baltic has historically made Gdansk one of the most important port cities in Northern Europe, and tragically also the scene of a rather disturbing past. World War II was ignited by a dispute over the control of the city. By the end of the war the city lay almost completely in ruins. The German population was expelled and replaced by Poles as the city came under Polish rule and changed its name to Gdansk. However, the impact of its former
German ties is still evident. Although most of the old buildings were damaged or destroyed in WWII, they have been painstakingly restored or rebuilt.

This morning we head out of town a short distance to visit the Oliwa Cathedral. This Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary, and St Bernard's Church was first erected as a Cistercian shrine back in the 13th century. Reconstructed in 1350 after a great fire, it re-emerged in the Gothic style, but many of the new fixtures were to be relatively short lived. The Gothic interior was extremely damaged in a 1577 fire and was replaced with the Baroque fixtures we admire today for their beauty and intensity.

The Oliwa Cathedral is perhaps best known for its massive, splendid organ. The organ is comprised of over 7,000 pipes and is decorated with movable angels and brightly painted stars. When built, the instrument was the largest in Europe. The main alter is also very impressive, and if the organ is in use, you're sure to be riveted by its magnificent sound!

While in Gdansk we'll also visit the European Solidarity Centre, a museum and library devoted to the history of Solidarity, the Polish trade union and civil resistance movement, and other opposition movements of Communist Eastern Europe.

The balance of the day is free to enjoy Gdansk. Gdansk is sometimes called the Amber Capital of the World; the surrounding area is the richest known source of this semi-precious stone, and the product can be viewed (and purchased, of course) in many shops in town. In order to maximize your free time in this interesting place, we do not include dinner this evening.

Overnight in Gdansk.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast



Day 9 Gdansk - Malbork - Olsztyn
After breakfast, we drive to Olsztyn. En route, we stop at the Teutonic Knights Castle in Malbork, the largest brick building in Europe and one of Poland's greatest tourist attractions.

In the afternoon, we continue to Olsztyn, a town located in a region of lakes and forests. The most attractive part of the city is the old town, encircled by a set of fortified walls.

Overnight in Olsztyn.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 10 Olsztyn - Olsztynek - Warsaw
After breakfast, we return to Warsaw. On the way, we visit the Ethnographic Park in Olsztynek, site of the Museum of Folk Architecture, one of the oldest open-air museums in Europe. The museum contains many interesting examples of folk architecture, including houses, barns, windmills and other traditional buildings. A particular attraction of the park are the interiors of old houses, the evangelical church, a blacksmith, a pottery stand, a windmill
as well as various temporary displays representing items of traditional craftsmanship and modern folk art and handicraft from the region.

Continue to Warsaw.

Overnight in Warsaw.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 11 Departure
Departure from Warsaw, or continue to our tour of the Baltic States.

SZEROKIEJ DROGI!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

 

Inclusions
Breakfast and dinner (hotels & local restaurants) daily. All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.


Exclusions
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.


Seasonality and Weather
This tour is offered in spring, summer and fall the most popular of which is are spring and fall when temperatures are relatively mild and crowds thinner. Showers quite possible in spring and fall, somewhat less so in summer though can occur any time. Summers can be humid.


Transport and Travel Conditions
Land transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have a couple of full bus days there are plenty of stops of interest.

This trip is typical of most of our European tours, which are ambitious and involve full days of travel and sightseeing. While we don't have any actual strenuous activity (ie hiking) built into the program, you will do a lot of walking on this trip. These walks will mostly be in the form of walking tours of towns and cities and short walks to dinner. Being Europe, and a hilly/mountainous area, cobbles, uneven surfaces, and slopes/stairs are common. If you are accustomed to typical "bus tours," which rely heavily on vehicular transport for all sightseeing activities, you should be aware that this tour is considerably more active.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.


Accommodation
Well-located, air- conditioned, mid-range hotels (3-star) throughout. Many are smaller properties (3-4 story) that may not have elevators. All hotels have en suite bath, though most have shower only. Porter service is rarely available; you MUST be independent with your luggage. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.


Staff and Support
Tour Leader throughout, driver, local step-on guides in various locales.


Group Size
Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

Regions visited: Central And Eastern Europe
Countries visited: Poland


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Hotel Ascot Premium
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Krakow
Country: Poland
The modern hotel is located in the heart of Krakow. Standard room equipment includes: Cable TV and radio, free wireless internet, telephone, safe, bathroom with shower, hairdryer, air- conditioning.


Radisson SAS Warsaw
5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation
Location: Warsaw
Country: Poland
Conveniently located in the heart of the business district and tourist quarter of Warsaw, Radisson SAS Centrum Hotel welcomes both business and leisure travellers. The hotel is close to the ... of Science and Culture and the Warsaw Central Station, and just a 20-minute drive from the airport.

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Mercure Helios Torun
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Torun
Country: Poland
The Mercure Helios Torun is located in the city centre, very close to the old town and the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. Hotel offers 105 modern single and double rooms ... 5 suites. All rooms are equipped with SAT TV, pay TV, radio, telephone, minibar and fast Internet access.

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Mercure Hevelius Hotel
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Gdansk
Country: Poland
The Hotel Mercure Gdansk Hevelius is just a stone's throw away from the Old Town. The hotel also offers a unique view of the picturesque Old Town or the historic ... Shipyard.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
01. What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?
Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.
02. Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?
Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.
03. How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website. A non-refundable deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
04. What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing, by letter, e-mail, or by fax immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% nonrefundable/ nontransferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, nontransferable. Name changes are not permitted. Insurable risks may be covered under trip cancellation insurance policies, if purchased. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated. We may cancel departures if forced to do so by circumstances such as war, civil or political unrest or what is commonly referred to as force majeure. In these instances we will refund all passengers in full if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date; or, if circumstances do not permit, an alternative will be offered at that time. We will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline change fees, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage under such circumstances. If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you. If this is not acceptable, all monies paid will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given approximately 60 days prior to departure.
05. I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
06. Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

What People are Saying
Patricia M.
Rochester Hills, MI - US
One of my best tours. Great combination of leader, hotels, restaurants, cities. Itinerary with stops to break up long drives worked well and gave us a chance to experience smaller cities. Loved learning more of the history of Poland. I really appreciate the great locations of all of the hotels!! This is very important for me and others I have talked to. It makes it so much easier when exploring on our own, a very important part of a tour, allowing travelers to get a better feel for the city.
Christine F.
Mount Holly, NC - US
All excursions were enjoyable. Meals were outstanding thanks to Chris, our tour leader. Chris is phenomenal people-person. We had him on the nordic tour last year. He was great and we are looking forward to him being our tour leader in West Africa. We really enjoyed Poland, exceeded our expectations.
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